Winter 2023 breaks heat record and was the hottest in the last 60 years; understand the reasons

O winter 2023 certainly stood out as an exceptional and disappointing period for many Brazilians who long for cold temperatures and the possibility of seeing snow or frost, especially in the southern region of the country. However, what occurred was a climactic upheaval that defied the expectations of many.

The arrival of the Brazilian winter always brought with it the hope of a freezing season and the possibility of witnessing unusual phenomena, such as snow, at least in the South region, where temperatures used to drop to lower levels. However, the winter of 2023 was marked by intense heat that took many by surprise.

To the high temperatures recorded during this winter were unprecedented since 1961, and this caused disappointment among cold-weather lovers.

Photo: Olhar Digital/Reproduction

Since the beginning of the season, there were already rumors of waves of heat which would challenge the traditional image of winter in Brazil, but most people still expected the weather to normalize over time.

The heat did not spare the country’s regions. In the North, Northeast and Central-West, residents faced around 70 days of extremely high temperatures, with thermometers consistently registering values ​​above 30 °C, something unusual for the winter season.

Image: INMET/Reproduction

A notable example was in Cuiabá, where, on August 23, the thermometers reached an impressive 41 degrees, a mark that challenged the resistance of even those most accustomed to hot weather.

Reasons for this phenomenon

The winter of 2023, characterized by high temperatures in the middle of a period that should traditionally be cold, was influenced by a climatic occurrence known as El Niño.

El Niño is part of a larger climate forecast called ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation), which occurs in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Under normal conditions, trade winds blow from east to west, pushing warm surface waters from the western Pacific toward Asia.

This warmer water creates an area of ​​low pressure over the western Pacific and an area of ​​high pressure over the coast of South America.

However, during an El Niño event, this normal circulation is interrupted. Warm waters from the western Pacific flow back towards South America and the central region. This has drastic consequences for the global climate, including Brazil’s.

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In Brazil, El Niño tends to bring a series of climate changes, such as rising temperatures and an increase in the frequency and intensity of rain in several regions.

This explains the hot and dry weather that prevailed during the winter of 2023, leaving cold lovers disappointed, but it also attests to the great damage caused by floods in Rio Grande do Sul, for example.

Photo: EBC/Reproduction